Weak demand from priority groups for the flu vaccine worries health authorities in Belo Horizonte. Vaccination coverage against the disease increased slightly last week. According to the report published this Wednesday (18/5) by the Municipal Health Department (SMSA), 32.3% of the target audience was vaccinated against 26.9% last week. However, the target set by the Ministry of Health is at least 90%.
In view of the situation, the director of health promotion and epidemiological surveillance, Paulo Roberto Corra, affirms that actions to promote vaccination will be intensified.
Another measure, he said, is press advertising and press conferences about the importance of flu vaccination for the target audience. “To try to encourage their participation and come to the units to get vaccinated.”
The secretariat did not investigate to try to find the reason for the low demand for vaccines. Paulo Roberto points out, however, that many people consider the flu to be a common illness.
“People were overemphasizing the COVID vaccine and putting the flu aside, thinking the flu was a common disease. But this is not true, it can lead to hospitalization and death. We need the population to look for vaccination posts so that they are protected, especially those vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, children, health professionals.
Among the groups convened, the director underlines the concern about the low coverage of some of them. “Pregnant women and women, in addition to education workers, have low vaccination coverage.”
The elderly group achieved 52% vaccination, while only 19.7% of children aged 6 months to 4 years took the flu shot. “These children need to get this vaccine. There is no point in parents not taking their children to be vaccinated.
According to the SMSA, the priority groups with the lowest vaccination coverage are:
- People with permanent disabilities (motor, auditory, visual or intellectual): 0.7%
- People with chronic non-communicable diseases and other specific clinical conditions: 5.6%
- Pregnant women: 11.9%
- Primary and higher education teachers: 12.3%
- Purple: 15.2%
Extension and extension of the campaign to other groups
On the possibility of extending the campaign, the director explains that the decision, in this case, is the Ministry of Health. “Usually he does, to give those groups the chance to be vaccinated first. But we do not know if this year the campaign will be extended.
The release of doses to the general population is also the responsibility of the federal agency. “There is a possibility, but it depends on the ministry. Last year he published it.”
Paulo Roberto recalls that the vaccine protects against the flu virus, but there are other viruses that cause respiratory diseases for which there are no immunizing agents. “Therefore, it is important that in addition to vaccination, the population maintains social distance, whenever they have respiratory symptoms, stay at home, wear a mask to avoid transmitting this condition to others. This is part of the control measures for these respiratory conditions.